Matthew Gardner's Housing + Economic Update - 5/24/21

Our economist Matthew Gardner just released a video to address questions about a possible housing bubble. It's a 30-minute video starting with a recent history on presidents taking steps to increase homeownership (which translated in part to relaxed underwriting guidelines and lower down payments), but if you jump in around 8:40, it gets more interesting (and a bit comical) as he begins describing how our current environment is so different from that of the early 2000s - from available mortgage products to percentage of sub-prime borrowers.

He also addresses our historically low inventory, noting that in recent years, homeowners have simply stayed in their homes longer, while the number of new households has increased dramatically - Matthew compares 2000-2006 with 2014-2020 in this graph:

Further, permit activity for new construction has also decreased significantly from both pre and post pandemic vs in the 2000s.

Overall, Matthew finds that current day homeowners' excellent credit and "significant equity put us in a very different place than we were in the 2000s"

And on recent appreciate rates: "The pace of price growth we've seen over the past year is clearly unsustainable and it must start to slow - if only to allow incomes to start catching up". He noted that in some markets, the pace of growth in list prices is showing tentative signs of this, which he says will likely ease the pace of growth in sales prices.

The bottom line is that he does not see a downturn in real estate unless banks greatly ease lending requirements again, something he does not feel is realistic.

If you have the time (and interest), it's a really thorough look at all that was in play then, and how things have shifted so dramatically in recent years.

Chalet Soul - Union Hill


$1,212,000 MLS #1740249

Status: SOLD
23923 NE 75th Pl
Lofty ceilings, exposed beams, and peaked windows will transport you; an incredible natural refuge with resort personality and fantastic privacy. 1.26 acres with sunny lawns and curving, private drive. Main floor owner suite overlooks soothing pond; connected bath boasts miles of stone, skylights, and large soaking tub. Main floor den PLUS additional unparalleled separate Work From Home configuration with dedicated entry, hardwood floors, and amazing light (ideal for home-based business, WFH, home school, studio, and more). Upstairs, two bedrooms, a full bath, and the coolest open rail loft/hall. Natural elements and unique architecture shine in this true PNW residence. Generator, motorized shades, 3-car garage, security system, sprinklers and multitude of magazine-worthy outdoor entertaining spaces. This is where life happens.

SOLD: West of Market Haven


Price: $1,350,000
900 20th Ave W

We helped the sweetest young family make their walkable Kirkland dreams come true, with a coveted West of Market location to boot! This sleepy Rose Point corner lot offers refuge and quiet, with mature trees and even peekaboo lake views. With a gorgeous design plan at the ready, this home will soon be transformed into a magazine-worthy masterpiece, and a quintessential example of quality over quantity by allowing the right design decisions to create those just-right interior spaces.

Just Listed: Bountiful Vistas - Kirkland

$2,220,000 MLS #1729268
 Status: Sold
Bountiful Vistas. Gracefully poised within a gated, 6-home community at Surfmere, this extensively upgraded home boasts perfection in function, glorious views from nearly every room, and jubilant personality. Grand floor plan and scale delight while modern sensibility and materials invite you to linger. Hardwood floors throughout, A/C, generator, 3-car garage, sprinkler system.  Masterful cook’s kitchen in pleasing grey, white and brass with loads of eat-in seating. A truly spectacular owners’ retreat with connected den (WFH or lounge) and an earthy bathroom filled with walnut, Grohe, and an air bath. Four bedrooms plus a generous bonus room on the upper level. Open rail and two-story entry contribute volume and light. A phenomenal, big-view residence with the care, upgrades, and systems buyers dream of; an alluring and uplifting place to call home.

Look of the Week: "Gear Loft"

A Seattle couple worked with design firm Johnston Architects to create this unique, shed-inspired structure in the Methow Valley. With a plywood interior and corrugated exterior, it feels like the best cozy lodge in a sea of snow. 

SOLD: Green Lake Luxe

List Price: $1,375,000
5811 1st Ave NE
We had the great fortune of working with a delightful buyer from Colorado looking for a second home in Seattle. Having recently built custom back in Colorado, we didn't anticipate we'd find such a perfect match here -- but this home even had her favorite Miele dishwasher and Wolf range! In addition, it was remarkably like new construction for a 1920's house - thanks to an extensive renovation a few years go. Icing on the cake? The turf yard for her two dogs. 

New Construction - East of Market


$2,600,000 MLS #1574038 Status: SOLD

Spacious, close in new construction residence with loads of Seattle character by esteemed DC Granger Homes. Four beds/3 baths and bonus room all on upper level; Main floor features den or 5th bed with bath and expansive great room overlooking huge backyard with covered patio. Coveted 9th Ave locale. Completion late summer 2020.

SOLD: Glendale Estate

List Price: $1,675,000
13822 SE 7th St
We helped our client purchase this spacious, estate-style home in a sleepy Bellevue neighborhood, with a yard perfect for pandemic life:  it came complete with sport court and play structure, plus a half-acre of breathing room!

Look of the Week: True Bullnose Stair Treads


Hardwood stairs are beautiful, but can be slippery for little feet - kids or pets. We have this challenge at our own house, but didn't want to do anything permanent. Runners of course are an option, but we preferred a solution void of any glue or nails that would be hard to remove later. Simple/classic and reasonably priced runners also seemed few and far between.

Just Listed: Beachside Haven, Downtown

$469,000 MLS #1632822 Status: SOLD
Beachside Haven – Downtown Kirkland. Stylish two-level retreat in boutique 8-unit Park Bay complex affords the feel of a private home less than one block to Lake Washington. 

SOLD: Maple Leaf Mid-Century


List Price: $885,000
222 NE 89th St
We helped newlyweds from Oregon get settled into this charming and beautifully updated mid-century home on a sweet, tree-lined neighborhood in Maple Leaf, walking distance to favorite cafes and restaurants. The home provided just what this couple needed: work from home space, private guest level, a roomy, fenced yard for their two dogs, Wally and Daisy, and an easy commute to Children's Hospital for a new job.

Scenic Luxury, Everest Park

$1,500,000 MLS #1620191 Status: SOLD

856 9th Ave S